According to new research, the extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree appears to have inflammation-fighting properties and relieve pain.
Scientists from the National Research Institute on Food and Nutrition in Rome found the antioxidant compound, called Pycnogenol, inhibits the generation of COX-2 and 5-LOX, which are naturally occurring mediators associated with inflammatory responses.
The researchers tested volunteers aged 35-50, who took Pycnogenol pills for five consecutive mornings before breakfast. Blood sample analysis before and after supplementation showed that while the participants’ immune cells rapidly initiated production of COX-2 and 5-LOX in response to pro-inflammatory stimulation, taking Pycnogenol almost entirely suppressed them in the immune cells.
Study author Dr. Raffaella Canali explained that common NSAID medications lower the pain by reducing the production of prostaglandins by COX enzymes.
"In contrast, Pycnogenol turns to the root of the problem, completely stopping the production of COX-2 in inflammation. Thus far, the compound seems to be a unique tool for modulating inflammatory processes," she adds.
Natural Health Science, a supplements distributor, says Pycnogenol is available in more than 700 nutritional supplements worldwide.